Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

Women bishops urgent question

Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered an urgent question tabled by Labour MP Diana Johnson on women bishops on 22 November 2012.

On 20 November, the General Synod of the Church of England voted narrowly against the appointment of women as bishops.

The measure was passed by the Synod's Houses of Bishops and Clergy but was rejected by the House of Laity.

In the Commons, Sir Tony told MPs that a fresh attempt to allow women to become bishops should take place "as soon as possible".

He said the issue should not be "parked for the next couple of years" until after the next round of General Synod elections in 2015.

"It is perfectly possible for a different and amended measure to consecrate women bishops to be considered by General Synod," he said.

Sir Tony, who represents the Church of England in the Commons, told MPs it was "impossible for me to explain" how the Synod opposed the measure.

The measure would have made it lawful for women to be consecrated to the office of bishop.

David Cameron has said he is "very sad" that the Church of England rejected the introduction of women bishops.

But he said Parliament had to "respect the individual institutions and the way they work" during prime minister's questions that week.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, spoke of his "deep personal sadness" after the vote.

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